George Girard (1930-57) could have been a big star but his life was tragically cut short by cancer. A technically skilled Dixieland/swing trumpeter with an attractive tone and a melodic style a little reminiscent of Thomas Jefferson, he was also a personable and cheerful singer.
During 1950-52, Girard led the Basin Street Six, a group that also featured the young clarinetist Pete Fountain along with trombonist Joe Rotis, pianist Roy Zimmerman, bassist Bunny Frank, and drummer Charlie Duke. The Basin Street Six can be heard on two albums from the Mercury label and one apiece for Circle and 504.
While it is titled Pete Fountain and his Basin Street Six due to the clarinetist’s name value, the music on the 504 CD (which unfortunately does not contain any liner notes) is most notable for Girard’s contributions. He takes appealing vocals on the original “Bonaparte’s Retreat” and “Margie,” and his lead and solos on such numbers as “Angry,” “Mahogany Hall Stomp,” “Milenburg Joys” and “I’m Going Home” certainly make one regret the brevity of this gifted musician’s life.